- Number-crunchers put GOP chances of retaking Senate at 60 percent: report
- Ohio sheriff sends bill to Mexico for cost of jailing illegals
- Fla. voters’ support for medical marijuana bodes well for ballot measure: poll
- Keith Urban concert ends in ‘nutso’ chaos, with dozens arrested, injured
- Very religious still lean toward GOP, reflecting long-term patterns, Gallup poll shows
- Fist bump becoming all the rage for germ-wary handshakers
- Tennessee storms ravage counties, wreck 10 homes
- Chinese police tear down church cross in religion crackdown
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: ‘Obama, Obama, where are you?’
- Maine police find wife, husband, 3 children dead in home
Debate showing key for Palin’s campaign
Question of the Day
The Palin-Biden contest Thursday night in St. Louis may be the most intensely followed fight since the 1975 “Thrilla in Manila” between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
After the fight, Ali said of his defeated opponent: “Joe Frazier, I’ll tell the world right now, brings out the best in me … God bless him.”
Republicans hope Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware brings out the best in Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin - by making more factual and/or historical errors than she does in what could turn out to be the most important vice-presidential debate ever.
The conventional wisdom that only the top of the ticket matters may not apply here, because the moose-skinning governor has become Sen. John McCain’s lifeline to both the Republican voter base and to the swing voters who thrilled to Mrs. Palin’s average-Sarah-next-door persona when Mr. McCain announced her as his choice for running mate on Aug. 29.
“Right after Sen. McCain announced her as his pick, she genuinely electrified the Republican base, but now the debate is a potential turning point for her and the McCain-Palin campaign,” said Colin Hannah, founder of the religious advocacy group Let Freedom Ring. “She will either show she still has the star power to help McCain hold on to his base and win in November or show that she is not up to the job.”
Mr. Biden has it all over her in experience, just as Mr. McCain wins hands down in that comparison with Sen. Barack Obama, whose most noteworthy accomplishment so far, according to fellow Democrat Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, is that he once gave a speech.
But as another fellow Democrat, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Wednesday, Mr. Biden “has a tendency to talk forever and sometimes say things that are kind of stupid.”
As an example of what she had in mind, Mr. Biden said last month that President Franklin D. Roosevelt greeted the onset of the Great Depression in 1929 by giving a fireside speech on television. In 1929, Herbert Hoover was president and television was an exotic inventors’ gadget - neither a consumer good nor a national news medium.
Some leading opinion makers traditionally on the right - from George Will and Peggy Noonan to Kathleen Parker and David Frum - have questioned whether Mrs. Palin has the right stuff or any stuff at all to command the armed forces, direct foreign policy and guide domestic economic policy if Mr. McCain, at 72 and with a history of cancer, wins and then suffers some medical incapacity.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that whether swing voters and blue-collar white ethnic voters like the way she answers moderator Gwen Ifill’s questions Thursday night will depend in part on whether her handlers let “Sarah be herself.”
Mr. Perkins said his biggest concern is that she not be “overscripted,” adding that Mr. Will and Miss Noonan make important contributions but are applying an overly demanding standard for articulateness to Mrs. Palin.
“Not everybody’s an intellectual,” he said.
About the Author
Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.
- GOP 2014: Thriving economy, school choice fuel Bobby Jindal agenda in Louisiana
- GOP 2014: Oklahoma's Mary Fallin follows in her parents' footsteps
- GOP 2014: From House to Statehouse for Indiana's Mike Pence
- GOP 2014: Scott Walker survives, Wisconsin thrives
- GOP 2014: Rick Perry touts Texas on national stage
Latest Blog Entries
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- CURL: Obama, staffers not even pretending any more
- Tennessee Gov. Haslam slams White House for secret dump of illegals in his state
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- D.C. seeks stay in order striking down ban on handguns in public
- Family of Marine killed in Afghanistan pushes back against cover-up
- HAYDEN: Intelligence, evidence and the case against Russia
- Tennessee storms ravage counties, wreck 10 homes
- Libya now nation at risk with weak U.S. influence; embassy closes as chaos grows
- Washington Times strikes content and marketing partnership with Redskins
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq